Mass Effect 3 Ending-Hatred: 5 Reasons The Fans Are Right
3) Lore Errors, Plot Holes
Considering how short the ending of Mass Effect 3 actually is, it’s impressive that it could still manage to violate established canon while simultaneously creating holes in the plot bigger than The Illusive Man’s ego, but this is indeed the case, and it’s a source of serious criticism from the fan base. There is a huge debate currently underway among the fans about how much, precisely, is left hanging by the ending, and it will likely continue until either BioWare consents to create a new ending, or fans accept that they never will. We will focus on the three that are indisputable.
* The Mass Relays
No matter which of ME3′s endings you choose, the Mass Relays are all destroyed. Yes, despite the weakness of an ending that robs the galaxy of critical technology, the multicolored explosions (player choice!) are certainly pretty. But in The Arrival, it was firmly established that the destruction of a Mass Relay would result in an explosion resembling a supernova, destroying the relay’s star system. In Mass Effect 3′s ending, the Mass Relays are destroyed in explosions so massive that they’re depicted as being visible from a perspective that resembles the Normandy’s Galaxy Map. Which means that Shepard has probably killed more life forms than the Reapers could on their best cycle.
* Inferred Holocaust
But even if we assume that this time, the Mass Relay Network’s destruction was a completely different kind of explosion that didn’t wipe out hundreds of star systems, (that players are forced to fill in blanks like this is another point of contention, incidentally), even a relatively benign end to the Galaxy’s most critical technology suggests a terrible outcome: Everyone in the galaxy is stranded where they happened to be at that moment, including thousands of ships and millions of alien races now orbiting a ruined Earth.
It’s safe to assume that the fleets who travelled to Earth for the final Reaper battle were stocked with supplies, but with the Mass Relay network knocked out, they’re all basically stuck there. That ending’s not just bleak — it implies outright extinction. While the galactic races have access to faster-than-light travel, the relay network is what made moving about the galaxy possible. Even conventional faster-than-light travel means decades before any of those ships makes it home, or even to another star system. It’s more than safe to assume no one, not the Quarians, not the Turians, not the krogan, Asari or Salarians, no one is going see home again.
Unfortunately, the burned husk of Earth certainly can’t support the combined military forces of the galaxy. And remember folks, Turians and Quarians can’t eat human food anyway. The assumption then has to be that everyone scrambles to find a colony to support them, and/or they all die. In all likelihood — faced with starvation, the krogan slowly eat everybody.
* The Normandy’s Escape
This is probably the biggest WTF of all. As the Mass Relays explode, we see a short clip of Joker furiously scrambling in the Normandy Cockpit, followed by the Normandy barely staying ahead of the chain of explosions. Eventually, the Normandy crash-lands on a convenient, Earth-like jungle planet. Joker survives, and as he staggers out of the ship to see the new, presumably permanent home, he’s joined by members of Shepard’s crew. In almost every ending, these crew members include Shepard’s love interest and at least one person who joined Shep in his/her final push.
There’s just one little problem. At the beginning of the final mission, every single squad member travels down to earth with you. Whichever two you chose to accompany you to the Conduit are with you during the final push when you’re blasted by Harbinger. That blast nearly kills you and Anderson. It can only be assumed – again, the player is forced to fill in blanks – that your squad was also hit in the blast. Meanwhile, Joker remained in orbit around earth to take part in the final battle. So how did he A) manage to rescue your squad and B) get the ship to the Charon relay in time to outrun the explosion? The ending cutscene makes it clear that the explosions begin almost concurrently with whichever end to the Reaper threat you chose. So, did Joker chicken out and abandon his post along with your crew? Did the game suddenly introduce Transporter technology? Was it some kind of magical nonsense?
Who knows? BioWare certainly didn’t explain it. Which means that for the rest of time, players must end every Mass Effect 3 game knowing that Joker is probably looking at a Court Martial for cowardice.
Read on to see reason 2…